I switched from a Windows machine to a Mac just over two years ago, and beyond that first week of complete and utter bewilderment, I have come to love, no, ADORE, my little Macbook.
Regardless of whether you are an Apple or Microsoft fan, your computer is at the centre of your universe when you operate your business online.
Yet, it surprises me when I come across so many people that, for whatever reason, still do things the long and hard way, when their computer could be helping them.
I realize there’s probably a healthy dose of ‘Don’t touch it – it might break’.
Overcoming that tiny techno-phobia could save you a ton of time. Here are some of the ways I get the most out of my machine.
Figure Out The Shortcuts For Your Laptop
I’m sure everyone is already doing this, but if not, do yourself a favour and learn the shortcuts to do the things you do often.
You should never have to use your mouse for things like copy / paste, going to the top of a page, switching windows, zooming in and zooming out.
If you are on a Mac, also learn the trackpad gestures.
Don’t try to learn all shortcuts at once – add an item to your weekly to-do list to learn one new thing and use it for a week.
You will be surprised at how quick you get.
Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
I’ve always known Gmail has keyboard shortcuts, but it’s only earlier this year that I sat down and went through them.
I wish I had done that sooner. I have all my various email accounts feeding into Gmail, so that I have a consolidated view, and using just a few keyboard shortcuts has allowed me to cut my email processing time in half.
If you use Gmail, learn and use the shortcuts for labeling (press l), archiving (press e), and deleting (press Shift-#).
You will feel like an email ninja. Seriously.
I know I’ve recommended this little tool previously on Moonpreneur, and recommend it every chance I get to my clients.
Yes, it’s great for keeping track of your passwords, works on most browsers and computers, and has a mobile version.
But the reason I include it in these productivity hacks is for its form-filling capability. You can create a profile with name, email, website etc, make that profile the default, then assign a hot key to it.
This feature is fantastic for commenting on blogs. One hot-key, and your name, email and website get filled in. It also works a treat when you are creating accounts on various social media sites and Web 2.0 properties.
Get A Timer And Use It
Just as your laptop can be the ultimate tool in growing your business, it is also connected to the biggest distraction of all time: Internet.
Get a timer, preferably NOT on your laptop. Most smartphones have one built in, and if not, just download the corresponding app.
I use my iPhone timer for just about everything. I set it to 20-minute slots, and allocate, for example 2 slots to write a blog post, 1 slot to fill up Buffer for Twitter, and 3 slots to work on the next chapter of my product.
Twenty minutes is long enough to get something substantial done, yet short enough to snap me back to reality if I start to drift into ‘research’ mode.
I have used and discarded several task management and to-do list applications over the years. But I always come back to these four basic productivity hacks to keep me moving forward without wasting too much time.
What are your favourite hacks for staying productive?